Book Review: Dark Lines

I have long argued that the short story is the perfect format for horror. Whereas a novel typically builds to a climax and conclusion through the various points of narrative structure, a short story isn’t typically confined by such restraints.  This means that tension can be built and eased at the writer’s discretion. This means that the horror can be short and punchy or torturously drawn-out, depending on how the writer wants to tell the story.

Jack Harding’s short stories in Dark Lines illustrate my argument because these horror stories are perfection.

In some ways I was reminded of Stephen King’s earliest collection, Night Shift. The stories are well-paced, evidence elements of character progression, and each one hits its mark beautifully. There’s a delightful sense of confusion in each of these stories that makes them all compelling. Harding is clearly aware that the typical tropes of the horror story are well-trodden and he leads the reader skilfully through a story where, even when we think we know what’s going to happen, there’s enough uncertainty to leave us doubting out knowledge of the genre.

I had the good fortune of listening to the audiobook version of these stories. Thomas Gloom’s enthusiastic and articulate narration lends an American voice to Harding’s British storytelling. This works to create a compelling product that was enjoyable from beginning to end. 

100% recommend.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s